Born in Hornell, New York, Bill Pullman is one of seven children. He received his undergraduate degree from the State University of New York College at Oneonta and later attended University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He worked with various theater companies, most notably the Folger Theater Groupe and the Los Angeles Theater Center. He made his big-screen debut in the Danny DeVito/Bette Midler comedy Ruthless People (1986) and followed that with lead roles in Spaceballs (1987) and The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988). He is married to Tamara Hurwitz and they have three children.IMDb Mini Biography By: CyJay@aol.com
After high school, Bill went into a building construction program at SUNY Delhi in New York. He transferred to State University of New York College at Oneonta where he received his BA in Theater. He received both his MFA in Theater/Directing and an honorary PHD from University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
While teaching Directing at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana, one of Bill's students was the soon-to-be film director John Dahl, who later cast Mr. Pullman in "The Last Seduction". Moving to New York City, he worked with Kathy Bates in the acclaimed stage production of "Curse of the Starving Class". However, it was his first work in three strikingly diverse films that brought him to the attention of his audience: "Ruthless People" with Danny DeVito and Bette Milder, the Mel Brooks hit "Spaceballs" and the Oscar-nominated (and winner for Best Actress Gina Davis) "The Accidental Tourist".
Still attracted to the art and study of building construction, Bill has designed and/or restored three "barns": In Montana, he converted a 1933 barn at his ranch into his family home. In Los Angeles, he built a Truss barn in the style of LA's 1910 fruit storage barns. In western New York State, he restored a '3-bay' barn that sometimes serves as a community center near his hometown of Hornell, New York.
Focused more on neighborhoods than show business-based charities and societies, Pullman has defined himself by his work with his local communities. He works to bridge communities of Los Angeles through his board work with Cornerstone Theater. Pullman continues to work with his neighbors who formed "Concerned Citizens Montana" to secure a place at the table regarding the national need for a smart grid for energy transmission. He also works with the local university (Alfred University, New York) as well as supports local health services ("The Pullman Women's Health and Birthing Center" at St James Hospital, Hornell, NY). Pullman is also an MS Society Ambassador.
Based in Los Angeles, New York City and Western Montana, Pullman is married to the dancer, Tamara Hurwitz Pullman, and they have three children, daughter singer/songwriter Maesa Rae, and sons Jack and Lewis.
|Tamara Hurwitz||(1987 - present) 3 children|
When promoting Independence Day (1996) in South America, some people actually thought he was the President of the United States,
Brother teaches English at Ithaca High School in Ithaca, NY
Received an honorary doctorate of fine arts on 24 May 2008 from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Currently co-owns a ranch in Montana with his brother.
Lost his sense of smell after a head injury and two-day coma.
Children: Maesa (b. 1988), Jack (b. 1989), Lewis (b. 1993)
Attended the State University of New York at Oneonta in the mid-'70s, but did not graduate. However, he was guest speaker for the Oneonta graduating class of 1992.
Appeared in both Cold Feet (1989) and Bright Angel (1990) during the time he was teaching at Montana State University in Bozeman. "Bright Angel" is one of the few films in which he played a bad guy. "Cold Feet" was shot in Livingston, MT, only 30 miles or so from Bozeman, and "Bright Angel" was shot entirely in and around Billings, MT.
Is the sixth of seven children. His father was a doctor and his mother a nurse.
His dad was a doctor and city coroner.
Considers Liebestraum to be one of his best films.
[on watching Independence Day with President Bill Clinton] Oh, great. This is going to be like shooting baskets with 'Magic Johnson' watching.
(1996, on Lost Highway) I was brought up in a very small town in upstate New York. We lived on Main Street, and my dad was a doctor. And this idyllic setting held some very dark corners. Working with David Lynch, getting to know his psyche, and getting inside the character in Lost Highway felt so connected up to my past. Benign on the exterior, seething on the interior. My dad was also the town coroner, so we saw all these dead bodies...When I was a teenager my father would bring us along. I remember that when my mother had colon cancer, my father took us down to the basement of the hospital and pulled out a tumor in a jar to show us. And he's holding it up, he's kinda laughing, like a scientist. He said, 'See, it's kinda like congealed hamburger.' I mean, that's like David Lynch, that combination of strange, funny, macabre, all in one. So working with Lynch felt very much like going home.
Liebestraum was a great experience, a great time, and I have such fond memories about it...It was wild working with Figgis, because he's very much in possession of himself. Some would say a narcissist, but I think there's a power in that. I have to admit that I was just dazzled by his absorption with his own instincts and his own ability to pursue things...
It's very curious when you're an actor and suddenly you're in the right role, with the right match. Truthfully, I almost avoided While You Were Sleeping, because I find those romantic comedies kind of precious, and they're full of lines that leave you feeling a little bewildered when you say them. It's all about first looks and little giggles, and part of me is always thinking, 'Isn't there anything else we could be doing with our time right now? Something a little more important?' But when I was doing it, I really enjoyed it. It was like the air was charged between me and Sandy. From the minute I met her we just clicked. We were totally in tune with each other. Lots of the movie was about us just talking and talking, and I'll tell you the truth, most actors don't listen very well, they don't give it 100 percent. But Sandy and I, we just lived in that rarefied air of the movie, and it worked really, really well.
(1996) When I was in Japan to promote While You Were Sleeping, I went to this screening where they had a thousand Japanese women who'd won tickets in a radio contest. I've been around a lot of very successful actors, sex symbols-Brad Pitt, Richard Gere, Alec Baldwin, some others-and I always had a quiet little profile through all that. I've seen women go berserk over some of these guys. But I'll tell you, I never experienced anything like what happened in that Japanese theater. I felt like I was Elvis. They were screaming, the classic thing that you see on documentaries of the Beatles. And I'm standing there and my body feels so strange and I am so embarrassed. And a girl asks a question and the translator talks to her and then the translator turns to me and says, 'She thinks you're a very sexy man.' It's not even a question! And everyone just starts roaring with laughter. It was not a comfortable situation. I'll tell you that.
(1996, Movieline Magazine) I do take lots of time off between projects, but when the right thing comes along, I don't like to turn it down, I've been doing this for a decade, and I remember what it was like when I started. You spend maybe five percent of your time actually doing it, and the rest of the time, you're trying to get that five percent. I just wasn't built for that, the waiting-to-work business. And now, suddenly, I am fully employed. Things are going great. The Last Seduction, Sleepless in Seattle and While You Were Sleeping did a lot to get me noticed for bigger roles. Is this the time for me to take a sabbatical? I think not.
(2009) Theater has always been most important to my psyche. It's what I was trained in. I went out to L.A. to do a film and then got hooked by the adventure. With movies and TV, I'll take a lot of things, but with theater, I have to make good choices because I'll end up staying for a long time. When audiences see a bad show, they may say, "I want my two hours back." I've been in plays where I think, I want my six months back.
(2013, on Singles) Well, that was really a surprise all the way along. First I turned down the part, and Bridget Fonda and Cameron Crowe said, "No, you gotta! You really wanna be in this, Bill. It'll be great!" And I said, "I don't want to do it! I really don't want to do it!" And they said, "Why?" And I told my agent, "Don't tell them anything, just say, 'No, thank you,' because I don't want to make them feel bad that I'm turning them down, but I just can't." But they kept asking, "Why?" So I finally explained that it's because he was a plastic surgeon, and my father was a doctor, and he'd been a blood-and-guts doctor all his life, and he'd always talked about the "vanity surgery" and that it was people making a lot of money off of medicine in a way... He really deeply abhorred the kind of wealth that came to those doctors. So I said, "That's why." And I got on the phone with Cameron and explained it, and he said, "Well, everything you've said, I want to have in the movie." So he wrote that into the movie. He ended up slicing [the part] way down, but there was still that thing about, "This is my last time, I've gotta get out of this business, I just don't believe in it, my father was a doctor," and all that. So it was a really personal thing. And on that note, the other thing about Singles is that my part was quite a bit larger. It was this kind of full romance that we had, as an older guy with a younger girl, and then I'm going through all of this ambivalence about doing that because we're such different cultures and everything. And then there was a break-up period where I come to the door, and Bridget had been instructed that, if you're having trouble breaking up with someone or they're breaking up with you, then just imagine them in a very compromising circumstance. So I did all these scenes where I came to up to the door, and suddenly I was in a clown outfit, or I'm talking to her earnestly about breaking up while I'm covered in slime and dirt. And we shot all these epic things, but then I get a call from him before it was screened, and he said, "Bill, I just want to tell you, I had to cut all that because I was following six characters. Bridget's one thing, but you come in late, and it was just too much story, so we had to cut it down." So of course I said, "No problem," but in a way it actually made the part better. It was a real "less is more" learning moment for me. Because we never have the full-blown affair in the film, but in our behavior around each other in the film, there's this connection and intimacy and joy of each other's company that came about.
(2013, on landing Ruthless People) That movie role happened because the dye job that I had from a play was growing out, and I was unconscious of that. To me, it was just, like, I had to be blond to be this Russian tank commander, and now it's changing. But the Zucker brothers... I was in for the audition, and they were laughing at weird places, and then they called me back and cast me as Earl. I asked, "What was that all about?" My agent said, "Well, I don't know what it was, but they love you, and they want you to keep your hair exactly that way."
(2013, on working with John Candy in Spaceballs) I think about him every movie I do, because he was generous and selfless, and in a way that I really don't run into very much in life. He was so good with the crews and just very generous, giving them things. And I've always tried to remember that with every movie and every project.
(2013, on Zero Effect) That one, I think, is one of my faves, because it was just such an experience. I had met Jake Kasdan when he was 13, on the set of The Accidental Tourist, and I really loved getting to know him. Then later, when I was on Wyatt Earp and he was doing a documentary about the film, I spent time with him there, and he said, "I want to be a writer, and someday I might want to write a script for you." I said, "Oh, really?" Thinking, "That'll never happen." And gosh darn, when he was 21, all of a sudden I get an offer for Zero Effect. I just love his sensibility, and his whole approach. It was a great honor to work with him. That's another case of working with the father and then the offspring. I feel very rich having been able to do that.
(2013, on making The Serpent And The Rainbow) That was my third movie, and I thought, "Boy, movies are gonna be so exotic!" Because we went to Haiti and then to the Dominican Republic, and then we had a riot on the set! That movie was such an experience. But I've remained friends with Wade Davis, who wrote the original book and who's almost exactly my age, and I just found that whole world of ethnobotany and the anthropological work, the country, the music... It was all just mesmerizing to me. I still have a lot of artifacts from that set and from that experience in my house. It was a very iconic experience for me.
(2013, on getting into acting) I was going to college on kind of a vocational program for carpentry, and it was largely an act of rebellion at the time. It was '71, I didn't want to go to an Ivy League college, and I was just looking to do something different. But then I went to an audition with a bunch of refrigeration students who were trying out for a play, and I got cast by a guy who became a lifelong friend. I said, "Okay, maybe I'll do a couple of plays..." And he said, "No, you're not going to do any of these things you thought you were gonna do. You're going to the college that I went to and getting a degree in theater. It's a good life. You'll like it." So I did that.
People are always touching different parts of the elephant, and they think they define the elephant. Some people think I'm obsessed with working with old tractors. Others see that in my free time I'm putting on these vaudevilles, and Yung [Chang] gets to think I'm obsessed about fruit.
The thing about acting is it's the one thing that gets me immersed in other things. I always come back to acting.
If I were born in the 1700s, I would look like a rounded man. Jefferson defined a home as being a house and a garden. I think I was born out of my time...Well, maybe the time is coming back to me.
I don't like this instinct of reality television to wear your lifestyle in public. I've always really loved the anonymity of things.
[on hosting tractor square-dancing] It was so gonzo. The men drove and the women carried flags, and they looked like Amazon goddesses coming in.
(June 2002) Appearing in Edward Albee's play, The Goat (Winner - Best Play 2002 Tony Awards).
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